Businesses of all types need to adapt to new safety procedures in order to operate normally during COVID. Although you can always rely on your employees to get tested and self-certify that they’re healthy to work, this process can be disorganized and inefficient.
In-office testing with bulk DIY testing kits streamlines screening, but do COVID-19 testing kits for businesses really help reduce virus spread?
Do COVID-19 Testing Kits For Businesses Reduce Virus Spread?
In a word, yes. Getting your staff tested for COVID-19 helps reduce the virus spread in your workplace.
Testing helps identify employees who are sick and need to be quarantined, preventing them from infecting others. Testing also helps you know if you need to temporarily shut your business for professional cleaning and sanitization, further reducing the chance of the virus spreading.
Which Employees Should Be Tested For COVID-19?
Ideally, your entire staff should be tested for COVID-19 on an ongoing basis as part of a workplace health campaign. In addition to identifying active cases before they spread, ongoing testing also helps determine if social distancing practices at your workplace are effective.
If you do not want to test your staff on a regular basis, then it’s important to test employees who have either:
- Been in contact with someone who is currently sick with COVID-19
- Are showing symptoms of COVID-19
Types of COVID-19 Tests For Employees
There are two tests that detect a current infection, the RT-PCR and the rapid antigen test.
The RT-PCR test is a nasal swab that takes only a couple of minutes to administer. However, the collected sample must be sent to a lab for processing, after which it takes 3 days for results.
You can get bulk testing kits that employees self-administer, or you can have a professional medical service perform the tests for your staff. This type of onsite service sets up a testing station at your workplace and conduct tests on participating staff throughout the day.
The rapid antigen test is a nasal or throat swab that returns results within 15 minutes. This test has a slightly higher rate of returning incorrect results than the RT-PCR test.
Rapid antigen tests for home/business use are currently in development. As such, rapid antigen tests for your employees must be performed by a medical professional or service such as Drip Hydration.
What test results mean
There are four potential results of a COVID-19 test.
- True positive: The test correctly identifies a patient with an active infection.
- True negative: The test correctly identifies a patient who does not have the virus.
- False positive: The test indicates that the patient is infected, but the patient is not actually sick.
- False negative: The test indicates that the patient is not infected, but the patient actually has the virus.
The higher the sensitivity and specificity of your test, the less chance there is of receiving an incorrect result.
What an employer can and can’t do with a result
In order to comply with the EEOC, employers are limited in what they can and cannot ask or do in regards to COVID-19 testing.
- Send an employee home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19
- Require employees to get tested for COVID-19
- Ask for a doctor’s note certifying that an employee is safe to return to work
- Ask employees about self-certification test results
- Require employees to take the antibody test (which shows signs of a previous infection)
You can learn more about workers’ rights during the pandemic here.
Convenient Onsite Testing For Businesses With Drip Hydration
Whether your business is large or small, Drip Hydration can conduct onsite workplace testing to help you operate your business as safely as possible. Onsite testing saves you and your employees time and streamlines the screening process. There’s no need for employees to self-certify and no need for employees to administer DIY tests themselves. Our service includes a consultation with a clinician that explains test results as well as next steps if someone does test positive. Learn more about our service or book an appointment with us at the link below.